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This work presents synthesis and characterization of polyamide-carbon nanotube (CNT) composite membranes for purification of ethanol. The solution-casting method was applied for preparation of nanocomposite membranes. The nanocomposite membranes were characterized using scanning electron microscopy to ensure the fine dispersion of nanoparticles in polymer matrix. The effect of CNT loading on membrane performance was investigated. The separation performance of synthesized membranes was evaluated in separation of ethanol from ethanol/water mixture using pervaporation. Effect of feed temperature and feed concentration on separation of ethanol was investigated. The results showed that increasing temperature increases flux of ethanol through the membrane, but decreases separation factor. The results also confirmed that the best separation performance can be obtained at CNT loading of 0.5 wt%. Furthermore, a mathematical model was developed to simulate the separation process. The model was based on solving the continuity equation for ethanol in the feed side and membrane. The simulation results were compared with the experimental data and were in good agreement. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:961–968, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers